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Papua New Guinea - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband

Papua New Guinea - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband

Regulatory changes will enable growth and connectivity

Located in the southwest Pacific Ocean of Melanesia and only about 160kms north of Australia lies the mainland of Papua New Guinea and around 600 outlying islands. The western half of the mainland adjoins the New Guinea Island, which is part of Indonesia. The topography of the island is mountainous and tropical with the majority of the land under customary land ownership.

Subsistence based agricultural products, mining and petroleum products are among the largest export industries. The massive mineral developments planned and in progress over the coming decades require advanced communications necessary to trade on the global stage. The LNG project about to come online in 2014, has been estimated that it may double the GDP of the country over its operational life. The project construction has seen its share of environmental misfortunes and total construction cost would be around US$20 million. The inflation rate of around 8% and a current fiscal deficit of K2-3 billion are also driving forces that the government must harness to move the country forward.

Even though Papua New Guinea has a relatively advanced telecom network compared with many other developing nations, tele-density and fixed-internet penetration remains very low as nearly 90% of the population live outside the major cities. To oversee the growth in communications across the country the three mobile network operators (MNOs) have increased accessibility to the mobile network from less than 3% population availability to more that 80% in less than a decade.

The privately operated Digicel has been the champion in regard to this task. The government owned and part-government owned mobile network operators have been slow to increase their mobile infrastructure. The regulator, NICTA, will no doubt mandate that network sharing of mobile and other essential infrastructure occur to minimise costs while increasing choice to the consumers and businesses and bring communications and broadband connectivity to the majority of the population.

An essential part of connectivity would be the fibre-optic network that is now part of the National Transmission Network (NTN) project. The NTN would utilise existing fibre infrastructure and gateways and also have new fibre routes as part of upgrading the backbone network. The incumbent Telikom will see its whole of country operations instead turn to that of a Retail Service Provider (RSPs) with a government owned NetCo' operator providing the wholesale services to RSPs.

In 2011 Digicel was granted additional licences by the NICTA, allowing the possibility of a second fixed-line operator in the country as Digicel also gained an international gateway licence. But telecoms infrastructure is limited to the major urban centres leaving the majority of rural areas poorly served. The additional licences that Digicel has may see this change as they deploy further next generation services while the wholesaling of the backbone network has not even passed the final planning stages.

Elections in 2012 saw a change in government with a priority in enabling the nation. In the longer term the possibility that economic progress will now filter to the rural areas of the country will come from the increase in GDP and from the years of earnings that mining and minerals have provided others.

Please note that this report is updated infrequently due to limited availability of information on the local telecoms market.


1. Executive summary
2. Key statistics
3. Country overview
3.1 General outlook
4. Telecommunications market
4.1 Overview of Papua New Guinea's telecom market
4.2 Moving forward in telecommunication towards 2030
5. Regulatory environment
5.1 History
5.2 Regulatory authority
5.2.1 National Information and Communications Technology Authority (NICTA)
5.3 Universal Access and Service Fund
5.4 ICT licenses
6. Fixed network operators in PNG
6.1 Telikom PNG Ltd
6.2 Digicel
7. Telecommunications infrastructure
7.1 National telecom network
7.1.1 Background information
7.1.2 Challenges of maintaining and building infrastructure
7.2 National Transmission Network (NTN)
7.3 International infrastructure
7.3.1 Satellite connections
7.3.2 Submarine cable
7.3.3 Satellite expansion
8. Broadband and internet Access market
8.1 Internet market overview
8.2 Internet gateway (Tiare)
8.3 ISP market
8.3.1 Overview
8.3.2 Datec
8.3.3 Data Nets Online South Pacific
8.3.4 Hitron
8.4 Wireless broadband
8.5 Satellite broadband
9. Digital Media / Broadcasting
9.1 Satellite and cable TV
9.1.1 Background information
9.1.2 HiTRON Ltd
9.1.3 EMTV
9.2 Social Media
9.3 Tablets on 3G
10. Mobile communications
10.1 Overview of PNG's mobile market
10.2 Mobile infrastructure
10.3 Mobile statistics
10.4 Major mobile operators
10.4.1 Citifon
10.4.2 bemobile
10.4.3 Digicel
10.5 Mobile technologies
10.5.1 CDMA services
10.5.2 Third generation mobile
10.6 Mobile voice services
10.6.1 VSAT connects remote Manus Islands
10.7 Mobile Broadband (Access)
10.7.1 MiFi hotspots
10.8 M-banking
10.8.1 Telikom and BSP
10.8.2 mPowa
11. Digital economy
11.1 E-education
11.1.1 One Laptop Per Child Program (OPLC)
11.2 E-government
11.2.1 Overview
11.2.2 Census 2011 notification by SMS
11.3 E-commerce
11.3.1 Easipawa
12. Related reports
Table 1 Country statistics Papua New Guinea 2012
Table 2 Telephone network statistics 2012
Table 3 Internet and broadband statistics 2012
Table 4 Mobile statistics 2012
Table 5 National telecommunications authority
Table 6 Anticipate growth in telecommunications sector 2010; 2015; 2020; 2025; 2030
Table 7 Fixed lines in service and penetration 1999 - 2013
Table 8 Internet users and penetration rate 1998 - 2013
Table 9 Broadband subscriber, annual changes and penetration rates 2007 - 2013
Table 10 Internet bandwidth 2001 - 2012
Table 11 Facebook users overview - 2010 - 2013
Table 12 Mobile subscribers, annual change and penetration rate 1996 - 2013
Table 13 E-government ratings overview in PNG - 2008 - 2010
Chart 1 Overview of broadband, internet subscribers and penetration rates 2004 - 2013
Exhibit 1 PNG Telecommunications Authority (PANGTEL) and the Independent Consumer and Competition Commission (ICCC) historic overview
Exhibit 2 Privatisation of Telikom PNG historic overview
Exhibit 3 Overview of ICT licences and sub categories
Exhibit 4 Major submarine cables with landing points in Papua New Guinea 2013
Exhibit 5 Recycled APNG-1 submarine cable now APNG-2 Port Moresby to Sydney
Exhibit 6 Overview of the additional mobile licenses offered historic
Exhibit 7 Mobile operators and technology used
Exhibit 8 Hybrid technology powers cell base stations in remote locations and boosts economy
Exhibit 9 Overview of One Laptop Per Child program in the South Pacific Islands 2010

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